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TBR Spotlight: “7th Circle” by Tate James

TBR Spotlight: “7th Circle” by Tate James

Ready for some morally grey characters making very questionable decisions against a gritty, gangland backdrop? Well then, Tate James’s “Hades” series may be exactly what you’re looking for.  

The first book in this series, “7th Circle,” is fast-paced, grungy, intriguing, and pretty damn spicy right off the bat. It’s clearly setting the groundwork for the rest of the series, and will likely suck you in, compelling you to finish the book in a couple sittings. The series crosses over with James’s “Madison Kate” books, but you can dive in very easily whether you’ve read those or not.

So, should you add “7th Circle” to your TBR? Let’s discuss!

You’ll Love “7th Circle” If You Like:

  • Contemporary, dark romance

  • A completed series

  • A cast of mostly morally grey characters

  • Some mystery and action

  • Reverse harem (or at least, this book is definitely setting the stage for a reverse harem later in the series)

  • A mix of slow burn and instant chemistry

  • A heavy spice factor

  • Badass bitches with BDE

  • Both bad boys and golden retrievers

  • Age gap romances

  • A grungy, gritty setting

  • Questionable decision making … like, all around

General Plot/Concept

Our main character, Hayden (aka Hades), is a gang leader with a lot on her plate. She has both a series of legitimate nightclubs to run (including 7th Circle), as well as a back-of-house business that’s less than squeaky clean. She’s attempting to juggle inter-gang politics with her sex life and it’s becoming something of a nightmare.

And if that wasn’t complicated enough, she’s also got someone messing with her, trafficking drugs that she’s outlawed in her territory and taking out members of several gangs under her reign. These incidents seem to have ties to her past, though that should be impossible on the surface. The person the clues are pointing to should be dead; she personally put a bullet in his head, didn’t she?!

Setting /Worldbuilding

This all takes place in a very realistic, modern city, though it doesn’t seem to be in a specific location. The vibes are generally dark and gritty, which is exactly what you’d expect from a gangland story.

James does a great job of explaining the political structure of the gangs and showing you how the hierarchy works, so you’ll never be confused about the stakes or why Hades has pressure on her to act a certain way. This is definitely an easy setting to immerse yourself in, so there’s no barrier to entry here. Just dive right in and enjoy!

Major Players

Here’s a quick overview of the main cast of “7th Circle”:


  • Leader of the Timberwolves
  • Has both legitimate and not-so-legitimate businesses to run
  • She is the epitome of BDE
  • Has both done and seen some shit
  • Clearly has many sides and desires to her (kind of a secret softie)


  • Hades’s right-hand-man and probably oldest friend
  • A great confidante and overall reliable guy (“Ride-or-die” is a great way to describe this dude)
  • He definitely brings some scary dog privilege to the table, but feels like a safe haven


  • Leader of one of the gangs under Hades’s command
  • Older than Hades, which is why he turns her advances down at the start of this book (ouch)
  • Big, broad, tatted man in a leather jacket.
  • The quintessential bad boy with a secret heart of gold


  • Our young boy with golden retriever energy
  • Hades’s newest dancer at “7th Circle”
  • Absolutely down bad for Hades
  • Apparently fantastic in bed
  • Probably hiding something


  • Hades’s younger sister

  • High school student

  • Hiding a crush from her sister because she tends to scare everyone away

  • Knows Hades protects her, but probably doesn’t know how much

Overall, “7th Circle” is a quick, engaging read that balances plot and spice in a really satisfying way. It’s a solid start to the series and, like its main character, definitely packs a hell of a punch.

What do you think? Does this sound like your kind of read? Let us know in the comments! You can also check out some of our Tate James designs here, and keep an eye out for more coming soon!

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